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tv   NOW With Alex Wagner  MSNBC  November 13, 2012 9:00am-10:00am PST

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the spy who loved the biographer who hated the socialite who had a twin that was creeped out by the agent who had no shirt on and the general who was maybe possibly behaving badly. it's tuesday, november 13th, and this is "now." joining me today, msnbc political analyst and georgetown professor, the man with the golden throat, michael eric dyson. msnbc contributor jonathan capehart of "the washington post," always effortlessly elegant. and columnist and co-host of msnbc's "the cycle" steve corn knackster kornacki. army wives meets john hecarry. three ring circus, mission impossible the cohen brothers. the extramarital
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affair/political drama that enveloped former cia director david petraeus gets more extraordinary by the minute. this morning washington woke up to the news that the top commander of u.s. and nato forces in afghanistan, general john allen, has also been investigated by the fbi after having exchange, according to a senior defense official, possibly thousands of potentially inappropriate e-mails with jill kelley, the 37-year-old social liaison at the heart of the scandal that led to general petraeus' resignation. house homeland security committee chair peter king had another term to describe the unfolding drama. >> it's really a great tragedy. general petraeus, one of our most distinguished generals and general allen, considered a super star in the military, did an outstanding job in afghanistan, was going to go to nato, it's just tragic. you're right, this has the elements in so ways of a hollywood movie or trashy novel. >> a brief primer on the characters until so-called trashy novel.
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allen who is married became ensnared in the investigation because of his e-mail correspondent spns with kelley who in may started receiving a series of what she considered to be harassing e-mails from petraeus biographer and fellow west point grad paula broadwell. the ensuing investigation found that broadwell had engaged in a ten-month extramarital affair with david petraeus who resigned as director of the cia on friday. many mysteries still remain including the involvement of an unnamed fbi agent whom kelly first turned regarding the harassing e-mails. this despite the fact that nbc news has learned from a senior government official the agent had allegedly previously sent shirtless photographs of himself to the married kelley. for his part, general allen says he has not engaged in any wrongdoing according to a senior defense official. this comes two days before allen, president obama ea's nome to take over as nato commander was scheduled to testify at his
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confirmation hearing. that hearing has been put on hold. this ongoing cyber drama love saga that would shame even the writer of "general hospital" there's even a set of twins involved but we don't have time to get into it, comes one day before president obama holds his first press conference after his re-election. joining me now is jonathan allen. >> the other john allen. >> the other john allen. all we're missing now is for someone to wake up from a coma in a hospital and reveal they were the rightful commander of the troops. i mean the thing, this has spiraled and seemingly almost out of control. the reality, of course, is that there are 68,000 troops in afghanistan, we have military conflict in the middle east, what does this say and do to the leadership on the defense side? >> look, unless you believe that these are the only men that could carry out these jobs well,
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then the defense infrastructure and the national security infrastructure of the united states should be relatively unaffected by this. there should be people that can come into those jobs and do those jobs well. if you believe these are the only men that can do those jobs to protect our country in the case of david petraeus, having him resign from the cia would have been a terrible thing and the president should have stopped him from doing it. in the case of general allen, stopping his promotion would be a terrible thing and that shouldn't happen. so i mean i think it depends on how you view these guys and whether they are essential to our strategy and to carrying out the best interests of the united states. >> you know, jonathan, we know that the president became aware of general allen, the situation there on friday, he has his first press conference this week. how much of that do you think is going to be dominated around the back and forth around this? >> very little of it will be anything else, unless the president tries to cut that discussion off entirely with some very open review of where he stands on it. i don't think it's likely that reporters are just going to back off on this.
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obviously there are other questions about the fiscal cliff, about what he plans in his second term agenda, still lingering questions about what happened in libya, with the attack in benghazi, so there's certainly other subjects people want to get to. i would be shocked if this wasn't a focus of that press conference. >> you have twins, you have multiple affairs, harassing e-mails, scorned lovers. what you need if you're going to have a press conference, jonathan, is a flow chart because it is almost impossible to untangle this without some kind of visual aid. >> you did have one with your cork board. you're talking to this jonathan or that jonathan. >> me, jonathan. making sure. >> so your cork board, though, is very reminiscent for all those folks who are glued to homeland. all that was missing is kerri matheson. >> we were trying to channel our own. glad you caught the reference. look, i mean is this what the president wanted to be talking about tomorrow night in his first press conference in a long time? i couldndon't think so. he wanted to talk about fiscal
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cliff, raising taxes and cutting spending and how he wants to work together, kumbaya with republicans. and instead he's going to be talking about this sort of "real housewives of centcom" as i saw on twitter. >> the question is there's going to be lot of facets of this that are explained. steve, leon panetta, the defense secretary, said there was a responsibility on the part of the fbi and the cia to keep congress informed and we know that there are hearings on libya beginning this week. this would seem to sort of -- this is going to somehow, i would imagine, filter into those discussions as far as the transparency here, whether congress should have been more engaged on this, whether this should have been an investigation and the soorrt of political repercussions. >> the last part is key here. there's a lot of sort you of know interesting and salacious stuff but it does raise the question of when you found out, when the investigators found out what was and probably wasn't
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involved here, why did they pursue this? why did this become the major scandal it's become when it really is only apparently about sex and e-mails and sort of, you know, tawdry communications between them. at the same time, obviously there will be, you know, there already have been complaints from republicans in congress, some outcry there, but i don't think at this point -- i think this qualifies as a distraction for obama. i don't think there's anything that's come out that's going to derail him on the if is call cliff -- fiscal cliff. >> he has a strong hand in the fiscal cliff but at this point to the average voter doesn't reflect on him. >> i don't think the white house has things to be worried about other than it's a headache and takes them off question. there is a morals and values question. richard cohen and "the washington post" today says get petraeus back to work. i will read an excerpt.
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>> i mean, there it is. besides who shot jr, we don't know what is going on and beyond that, it is interesting, you know, i don't know what the politics are in terms of left/right, conservative versus liberal or democrat versus republican. it does seem to me that a the lot of the people who are more conservative in this line of work, have big scandals, join us on the flawed sinful side over here. we know our limitations. as clint eastwood said, to quote a guy now speaking to a full chair, a man has to know his limits. know what you're dealing with. i'm just stunned that people in charge of security, are this sloppy. >> yes. >> i'm stunned that -- you're the head of the cia. you can't mack with any more secretiveness than this. get a mac computer. >> but you know what they did, the tactic they used, was
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something that they learned from terrorist organizations, which is you have a combined e-mail address and just type an e-mail in draft and then you can write to each other with no one -- with there being no paper trail. >> they got caught too. osama. >> and their isp addresses, ip addresses that you can trace. god, i'm really betraying my lack of knowledge. when we talk about this, there's also the eric cantor piece of this which has been interesting to me, eric cantor learned about the petraeus affair or was told by the secret unnamed shirtless fbi agent, and "the new york times" reports the agent self-described whistle blowing was embarrassing but had no effect on the investigation. eric cantor did not go forward with this at the height of political season, maybe perhaps because the information or at least the messenger seemed questionable? >> my question to you, jonathan allen? >> oh. you know, i think -- sorry.
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i think, you know, look eric cantor was brought sensitive information, he passed it along in a sensitive way, did not share that from what we've heard with any other leaders of the house. probably decided it was best left to the fbi to do the investigation. no one could have predicted what would have come out of that tip. at first we had what looked like a love triangle and now a love rhombus or parallel gram which moves you on to a love pentagon. i don't think there's any way of knowing what would have been brought by that original tip. it's bringing down some pretty lofty careers. >> what do you think about the tension between the fbi and cia? this would seem to expose some sort of -- i mean we know they're often -- agencies are often in competition with one another or there's tension. this would seem to be exemplary of that, given the fact that the fbi was investigating the head of the cia and some question whether that was appropriate, who knew what, where, when and how? >> it doesn't appear that the
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fbi attempted to use any of this information as leverage against the cia, which is what you would be concerned about domestic and international spy agencies learning information about each other and using it to leverage each other, to, you know, to create more or less power within the government. they've now toppled the cia director. one thing we should remember in this discussion and, you know, you're reading that opinion piece before, the reason david petraeus doesn't have a job as cia director because david petraeus decided to resign. had he decided to -- attempt to weather the storm i'm not sure whether he would have been able to or not. this is not a situation where he was fired from his job. he offered his resignation and it was accepted a day later. so this is something he decided he needed to do. i think that's something to keep in mind as this goes forward. >> was it really david petraeus or his evil twin? i'm just kidding. i'm kidding. for the record -- >> find out next year. >> as far as i know does not have an evil twin. thank you. >> does he have a good one? >> thank you to politico's
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jonathan allen. >> take care, alex. >> after the break, president obama kicks off a new push for a budget deal, but not without applying a few lessons from the past. last december he used a news conference to promote the extension of the payroll tax cut. >> at a time when so many americans are working harder and harder just to keep up, the extra thousand dollars or so that the average family would get from this tax cut makes a real difference when you're trying to buy groceries or pay the bills, make a mortgage or make a repair. >> we will look at the president and the bully pulpit next on "now." [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool if you could combine the capability of a pathfinder with the comfort of a sedan? ♪ so you went right back to the pathfinder's essence, kept its dna, and created the next-gen s.u.v.
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most immediately short term we need to extend a payroll tax cut that's set to expire at the end of this month. [ applause ] if we don't do that, 160 million americans, including post of the people here, will see their taxes go up by an average of $1,000. >> that was president obama in december of last year taking his message about the payroll tax cut out of washington and on to the stump. by december 22nd, republicans agreed to extend the tax cut as well as long-term unemployment benefits. it was a move widely considered a victory for democrats and the white house. president obama is reviving this to the people strategy in advantage of the upcoming fight over the so-called fiscal cliff. right now, the president is meeting with progressive leaders and heads of several labor organizations urging them to support a balanced plan to bring down the deficit. tomorrow, he will host business leaders at the white house and in the coming weeks he is expected to hit the trail with the very same message. joining the package now is ashley parker of the "new york times." thank you for coming on board.
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>> thank you for having me. >> before we get to you, steve we have been talking about this road tested strategy, which worked very well for the president in 2011. it seems like he has realized to get things done in washington you have to get out, take it out to the folks in america, you have to use the bullypull pit and then be do the back room negotiations with the republicans and make them fight for it. >> i think that was the strategy for the white house from august 2011 on. you had the debt ceiling debacle, where his approval rating in the wake of that went down to an all-time low, starting to look at that point this could be a one-term president. after that the white house basically concluded we're not getting any compromise out of the republican congress before the 2012 election. that's when he introduced the american jobs act. he knew they weren't going to act on it, but this is my blueprint, take it to the people. he had the speech in can is. did get them to fold on the payroll tax. that's significant, they folded on the payroll taxes last year, they were being obstructionists, they felt the pressure of we could get blamed for a
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middle-class tax cut in the election year. if the republicans folded on that then and the mood that we're seeing ut from people like mitch mcconnell and bill crystal their mood on tax has shifted a little bit since the election. i think it's pretty clear at this point where this is going. >> you think their knees are getting weak. i will point out to you, david brooks, writing in the new york times, this is not the republican party of 2010. today's republicans no longer have an incentive to deny obama victories, never running again, much to the point you brought up. republicans will play ball, except then you have people like newt gingrich and this what is newt gingrich said this morning on "morning joe." let's take a listen. >> no house republican should be bamboozled into this idea that the only person that has a mandate is barack obama. the house republicans have a mandate. it's fundamentally different than obama's mandate. they would be well put not to try to cut a deal with obama but to say paul ryan is going to bring forth a solution to the fix, we're going to gather votes for it.
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i guarantee you you'll have a democratic substitute and if you can get enough republicans to vote for it, terrific. >> if only the americans can see the look of befudslement and confusion when newt gingrich says things like no house republican should be bamboozled into this idea. bamboozled into this idea that the president just won re-election and the senate is still firmly in democratic hands. >> right. what he's basically saying is, to rank and file republicans vote with your district and forget about the phone call that john boehner had with all of you folks saying get in line, we actually have to have a record to run on in 2014. we can't be obstructionists anymore. the american people have spoken in the election, let's do something. newt gingrich, former speaker of the house, failed presidential candidate, giving advice to the republican party, i would advise the republican party to take that with a huge salt lick. >> yeah. >> ashley, you were on the trail covering romney and there for
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the last days of his candidacy. do you sense now there is supposedly a come to jesus moment happening within the republican party, that the moderate wing will have a strong voice? >> well, i mean one thing you're seeing before the election, before the president won re-election and seemed like leaders in congress were going to be more willing to compromise, governor romney was sounding a bipartisan theme even during the election. even before, some people would argue the president has a mandate, some wouldn't, bipartisanship was what was persuading the most voters on the trail. after the election there's probably going to be more incentive to strike that note. >> or people will say romney failed with that message time to us to love to zoo lover, gummy bear aficionado and former speaker of the house newt gingrich. >> some would say romney failed by having too many messages but he hit his stride when he moved into bipartisanship. that was the message that worked for him, against the president, and what they stuck with when he eeked up on the president but
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didn't quite make it. >> how will the progressive wing of the president's base react to this? we know there was information from "des moines register" interview where the president talked about a grand bargain, that stoked the ire of some on the left do not play your cards on this before there is a deal cut. don't give away the farm before we're at the bargaining table if ever. richard trumka says today, afl-cio president in the meeting with the president, says see what we do, see if we aren't independent. whenever something is good for workers we'll support it. if it's bad for workers it doesn't matter to us who proposes it. we won't be on board. we won't be taken for granted. >> look, if you have to remind the republicans as david brooks did, you're not in 2010, you have to tell the president you ain't there either. flex a little bit. have a little swag. come out and be the guy to say look, the cards are clearly in my -- on my side on my part of
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the table, and it's in your wheelhouse. you have to exercise a bit more i think discretionary power in suggesting that the nation has spoken, i've got a mandate, and if there's any time the wind is beneath my wings and at my back is now. he's got to hold fast for the people who reminded him what he was fighting for in the first place. >> first off they're closed door meetings, but to prepare them for the deal he's going to strike. if he doesn't do that now, when? >> i agree. i just make one point here on gingrich, i think it's a cautionary -- i think the republicans are, the leadership at least, realizing they're going to have to give on the tax hikes for the wealthy. the cautionary note, the only reason gingrich is still a relevant figure is because of what happened in 1990 when republican president george bush sr. cut a deal to raise taxes with the democrats to fight the deficit and newt gingrich who was then leading sort of these back bench conservatives in the house, that was his big moment
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and stood up to bush and republican leadership and said we're not going to sign off on any tax hike. bush got enough republicans go withes the democrats but three quarters of the house republicans stood with gingrich, couple years later becomes the leader and speaker and the risk of that ri volt that's real. >> been revolting for the last two years and seems to have not gott gotten them any where. >> you meant that in a verb. >> a guy like gingrich, the equivalent today, who is in a safe republican district that can rally the conservatives will become a major figure. >> they don't need the tea party to get something done. he can forsake them and go forward with a deal. i get the sense that the president -- >> the speakership. >> right. but i get a sense the president being a centrist is sort of -- is not loathed to say good-bye to his progressive base, make the big deal, cement that part of his legacy the same way that john boehner can say see you
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later, guys, we're going to get this done and my speakership will go down in history. >> it is worthy trumka said what he said. his point not to prove my [ inaudible ] in terms of labor and progressive politics, i'm willing to go by myself it's a reminder to the president, you didn't get in there just with this centrist base because if that was the case, romney had a good chance. there were forces rallying around you that you have to remember now and the president in that sense must be be held accountable. >> i'm sure there will be some holding accountable over turkey sandwiches today or whatever they're serving at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. coming up the supreme court decides to hear a challenge to a key component of the landmark voting rights act and all of the states supporting the argument happen to be hot spots for voter i.d. coincidence? we will look when the president of the brennan center for justice joins us just ahead. [ man ] ring ring... progresso
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congressman paul ryan wants americans to know that he and governor romney believed they had a real shot at winning last week, even and especially at the 11th hour. >> it was a well-run campaign. we made this campaign about big ideas and big issues which is the kind of campaign we wanted to run. we ran the kind of campaign we wanted to run and wasn't enough at the end of the day and we have to accept that. >> what was missing and why you probably won't be hearing the terms romneyite any time soon. ahead on "now." into their work, their name on the door, and their heart into their community. small business saturday is a day to show our support. a day to shop at stores owned by our friends and neighbors.
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of the voting rights act, a key provision that requires states with a history of discrimination to receive federal approval before the changes to their voting laws can take effect. the law applies to nine states, all of which are in the south and parts of seven others. in recent years republican led state legislatures have tried to push the boundaries of the voting rights act. in the view of numerous civil rights groups, these restrictions are aimed squarely at disenfranchising minority voters. it is worth noting that according to the nation's ary burman of the 11 states that made up the former confederacy, eight passed new voting restrictions over the last two years. ultimately, many of those laws were blocked, including a strict photo i.d. law in texas. republicans argue that section 5 infringes on states sovereignty. according to the director of the project on fair reputation, one of the groups behind the challenge the law is, quote, stuck in a jim crow era time warp. joining the panel the president of the brennan center for justice at new york university,
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michael waldman. always great to have you on the program. >> great to be with you. >> big things, big things happening on the bench, and i guess my first question to you, we were talking about this during the break, what -- i mean nobody can read the future, but based on the past, what do you think the likelihood is that the supreme court will strike down section five of the voting rights ax act? >> it's not a great sign they took the case. this is a law that's been on the books, it's been effective, part of the voting rights act that has the most teeth and just reauthorized almost unanimously in 2006. the took the case at all is not such a good sign. some of the justices the last time they heard this issue, had a lot of questions about it, implied that they didn't think it was still constitutional. but some things have changed since then. that was in 2009. we've seen all this new evidence of why the voting rights act is needed, not from news real reels but eyes on the prize.
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there's new evidence of why we need the voting rights act to be strong and these states are saying, well, you know, that was then, this is now. they would have a lot easier time making that argument if they didn't keep passing laws that disenfranchised minority voters. >> worth noting that section 5 covers nine states including alabama, alaska, arizona, georgia, louisiana, mississippi, south carolina, texas and virginia. six of those nine states tried to pass these minority -- these voter i.d. laws that would have affected and disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of minority voters. >> and it was really important, really important, to have the courts be able to step in to have the justice department, the enforcers, be able to step in and protect those voters. what happened in this election, we were all talking about it for so long, the laws got passed that could have hurt as many as 5 million people and their ability to vote, but by election day, those laws were almost all
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blocked. >> yep. >> blunted or repealed or postponed. and the voting rights act was a big part of that. it's kind of an unfortunate time to turn to the supreme court and say hey, that worked too well, let's get rid of it. >> michael eric dyson, we talk about a post-racial america and the need for -- there are a lot of programs that rose in a preracial america that we are trying to emile rate and when we talk about this stuff there are terms thrown around, eric holder, the attorney general, talked about some of the i.d. laws being akin to a poll tax. here you have a group arguing for the overturning of section 5, likening it to a jim crow prohibition era, it is heated and an emotional debate over what minorities need and whether targeting minorities. i don't think anybody can really argue we are past in this country. >> post-racial never,
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post-racist, yes. get the terms right. we should be post-racist, not enshrining one group with the implication they're superior or the laws favor them. women rose up in mass and with their allies to say look, a bunch of old white guys deciding what women should do with their bodies is passe and ac crow nistic and hurtful. here it is that the supreme court, save one figure, clarence thomas, none have been subjected to these restrictions. none of them have been subject to the willie nilly imposition of a southern sheriff's, you know, attempt to keep them from voting. but now these -- this court, men and women, will make a decision about the future of voting rights for african-american and other minorities and we need white women to step up to the plate. we need white women to say look, we are in -- >> this is an american ish. >> >> it's an american issue for american people and the disenfranchisement of minority
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voters is a referendum on american democracy, not we as videos are. >> it's hard to make a case, you look where this is happening, bastions, states that have republican held legislatures, the republican power with the older, southern under educated white workers, how can you say this is not a political ish. >> >> i covered the reauthorization issue, in the house, the vote was basically the 30 were white southern republicans. the house was so polarized bush's popularity dropping, jim sensen brenner old conservative republican leading the fight with democrats against the ban of southern republicans, be section 5 overreach, this preclearance provision out of the voting rights act. the vote was against that but that faction, that 30, is now reflected in the supreme court taking this case, the conservative supreme court taking this case and maybe, you know, these republican legislatures in the state's republicans governors embracing
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that view. >> michael, you were talking about what the justices had said before in 2009 and i'll just read justice roberts' opinion in 2009, these improvements are no doubt due in significant part to the voting rights act itself and stand as a monument to its success, past success alone, however, is not adequate justification to retain the pre-clearance requirements. he's keeping the door open and taking up the case again, but as far as how he goes with this current hearing. >> this court is obviously conservative on some things like citizens united, i think they went way beyond the constitution but we know sometimes you can make arguments and sometimes you can win these arguments. and the fact is, there are so many facts right now, including the fact that congress didn't just close its eyes and push a button and pass this thing, there were 22 hearings. they knew exactly what they were doing. the members of congress, of both parties, knew that this was a
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monument of american law. this was not just the democrats. this was starting with dirksen when they first passed it and bob dole and congressman sensen brenner. this is not in the past these voting issues have been american iss issues. they haven't been left/right issues. >> nor should they be. >> what would it say about the court if the court does away with section 5 after we've gone through the recent vote as steve was saying it passed overwhelmingly in both houses, with bipartisan votes? >> i think you have some kind of mutiny. you even look at what the voter i.d. laws did in terms of turnout. a lot to be analyzed and certainly we're still sifting through the data but the atlantic's andrew cohen last wednesday writes if there's one thing this election has proven, one thing i have come to know, americans don't like it when their right to vote is threatened. the very people whose votes the republican sought to suppress came out to vote. look at the exit polling in florida, black vote 13%, same in
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2008, in virginia 20%, ohio 11% in 2008, it was 15% in 2012. >> i think president obama had it right on election night. when he said, talking eloquently about the long lines of people and then interrupted that and said, by the way, let's fix that, we're the world's greatest democracy, we shouldn't be having people waiting in lines for hours on end to cast their vote. we could do so many things to fix that to modernize voter registration so everybody is registered, and there's no potential for fraud, to make it so there's uniform standards around the country, about how many voting machines you need to have and there's early vote. think about early vote. >> a national holiday to vote. >> think about early voting. what other government program has as much demonstration of popularity that everybody wants to use it so let's cut back on it. because it's too popular. that's the kind of thing we ought to be focusing on. not -- not this question of the voting rights act, is one of the most successful laws in american history. it is a monument of american
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life. and were it to be overturned or this -- remember this is one section, but it's the suction with teeth, the section that requires preclarence. it would be a destructive thing should that happen and make sure everybody knows that. >> we should. that's why we're going to continue having you on this program to talk about it until the supreme court makes its decision. michael waldman from the beenen center for justice, thank you as always. coming up a farewell to romney. the governor's legacy and whether it really even exists, be that's up ahead. two years ago, the people of bp made a commitment to the gulf. bp has paid over twenty-three billion dollars to help those affected and to cover cleanup costs. today, the beaches and gulf are open, and many areas are reporting their best tourism seasons in years. and bp's also committed to america. we support nearly 250,000 jobs and invest more here than anywhere else.
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or double miles on every purchase, every day! music is a universal language. but when i was in an accident... i was worried the health care system spoke a language all its own with unitedhealthcare, i got help that fit my life. information on my phone. connection to doctors who get where i'm from. and tools to estimate what my care may cost. so i never missed a beat. we're more than 78,000 people looking out for more than 70 million americans. that's health in numbers. unitedhealthcare. governor mitt romney campaigned for president for the better part of the decade, or one could argue even longer than that. last week in defeat he offered a heartfelt apology for not
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reaching his goal. >> paul and i have left everything on the field. we have given our all to this campaign. i so wished that i had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader. >> we will discuss romney's dashed dreams when "new york" magazine's benjamin wallace wells joins us next on "now." bob, these projections... they're... optimistic. productivity up, costs down, time to market reduced... those are good things. upstairs, they will see fantasy. not fantasy... logistics. ups came in, analyzed our supply chain, inventory systems... ups? ups. not fantasy? who would have thought? i did. we did, bob. we did. got it.
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republicans need to, quote, stop being the stupid party. that's some hash tag real talk from louisiana governor and republican bobby jindal. he went on to say, quote, we need to stop being simplistic. we need to trust the intelligence of the american people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters. simply being the anti-obama party didn't work.
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you can't beat something with nothing. the reality is, we have to be a party of solutions and not just bumper-sticker slogans but real detailed policy solutions. >> wow. >> speak to thy self. >> that is sure to sting the man who led the republican party through this past election governor mitt romney. in the latest issue of new york magazine, benjamin wallace wells -- only the stricken heartfelt apology of a man who has found himself wanting. a week after romney seemed poised to become president there is no segment of the republican party that could be called romneyest. >> joining us is new york magazine contributor whose article so long, mitt, appears in this week's issue. always great to see you. i thought that was a fairly moving good-bye to mitt romney and your point about who is a romneyist is very much something
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worth discussing. >> i think in some ways it was a kind of secretly moving good-bye from mitt romney. the clip that you played where he said, you know, i so wished that i -- i so wished i had been able to fulfill your hopes, i think there's something personal and true in that. you know, mitt romney in a way that michele bachmann or rick perry, or rick santorum didn't was running a personal candidacy. he didn't come in at the head of some movement, with ideological points to prove. what he believed i think and certainly what his campaign staff believed, was the country was heading down a terrible trajectory, it required a man of profound competition to fix, and he was going to present himself as somebody who was more competent than president obama in his closing argument, he said repeatedly to voters in wisconsin and new hampshire and
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virginia, you don't have to settle. what's holding us back from being a great nation is a lack of leadership. there is something both moving and ultimately very thin about the alternative that mitt romney presented because it was based so much on the promise of himself. >> yeah. the humanity, be we were talking about that -- what was supposed to be a victory celebration gone horly, horribly wrong, the sense they were on the precipes the golden ring was within their grasp and snatched at the very last minute was not something they were prepared for. >> not at all. as ben's argument says to make a candidacy about yourself is tough when you have advisors who say i believe mitt romney would be the best president, he's not a great candidate, and so, you know, he -- and it was funny when he would be off the record it was like a thing switch. he would come bakken ot plane, he wasn't a great comedian but he was relaxed and we're going to tell governor romney it's off the record, you guys on the
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record, and that's his best press conference ever. >> his on switch was his on switch and vice versa. now that it's said and done, what is romney's place in history and i know you have some thoughts about this, although you were reluctant to explain them during the break. >> this moment because -- i have a counterintuitive take. i think mitt romney leaves the political stage with a hugely important legacy that will be felt for generations to come called obama care. mitt romney came up with the idea in massachusetts, obama implemented and by losing mitt romney saved it. now the obama administration can spend the next years putting this new effect, the framework upon which future reforms to the health care system are based. the idea of universal health care is probably permanent and mitt romney is a big part of that. >> that's a fascinating theory. >> that's a footnote for it. it's great. >> yeah. conspiracy theorists would say it was all a plan to get obama
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care implemented. bring romney in, he'll lose, and it will be a validation for obama care to go forward. we have a cheeky metric by which to measure romney's popularity to say, in the hours, the 24 hours following his loss, his likes on facebook fell by more than 10,000. that's a steep and sharp decline. you know, the question is as you said, self-identified romneyists perhaps will not exist. what are romneyists? do they represent some moderate wing of the party that will get overrun by the tea partiers and voices like newt gingrich that think it's all about being more conservative? what does to be a romneyist mean? >> if only he had been clear enough throughout the campaign to say. look, yeah, i mean i think that there's -- to be a romneyist is i think at bottom to be a pra pragmatist, to see government not as an arena for ideological struggle, but as a, you know, as
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a place to solve problemsp. i think within five years after this election when we look back, maybe within even five months after this election when we look back we'll say, you know, what was it with mitt romney? why -- how did eeven get to this point? a guy totally out of step with the trajectory of his party. no natural constituency. he was not himself a talented campaigner, very obviously talented politician, who made it within a pretty slim distance of actually being president of the united states and there's something kind of breathtaking about that. if steve is right and if, you know, obama care, the kind of seat of obama care is his legacy, what's doubly interesting there is how accidental the birth of the kind of proto obama care, romney care in massachusetts was. what happened there was a buddy of his tom, the founder of staples, you know, kind of casually mentioned to mitt when he was coming in as governor
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that, you know, some doctors over at mass general were having trouble dealing with their uninsured and there wasn't any kind of internal, you know, deep ideological commitment to making this happen. >> very much sort of the accidental tourist. >> totally. >> in terms of politics. we have to go. the other thing we didn't talk about, jonathan, mitt romney sort of an ac crow nistic 1950s character in an america proven to be a very very different place than the 1950sing and '60s, a browner, more female, younger and more fired up. >> and a little more progressive. the problem mitt romney had, he brought confidence or he thought he did, but he was rutterless. the competence doesn't mean anything if people look at you and think you don't stand for anything when you've been on every -- everywhere on abortion, gun control, gay rights, you name it. that's his problem. >> the brother at the top of the ticket, that's why he came within a hair's breath of being the ticket. >> just because he was there.
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>> thank you to new york magazine's benjamin wallace wells and michael, ashley, jonathan and steve, catch steve every week day on "the psych kwl" at 3:00 p.m. eastern. i'll see you back here tomorrow when joined by the governor of "now," former governor ed rendell, politico's maggie haberman and "the new york times" hugo lindhgren. find us at a place called with alex. "andrea mitchell reports" is next. good afternoon, andrea. >> good afternoon, alex. coming up, another general caught in the petraeus investigation. the latest reporting with pete williams, kristen welker and michael isikoff. who are these men and what impact will this all have on the military, the rank and file, colonel jack jacobs joins me. are republicans changing their minds? senator bob corker talks about the fiscal cliff and gillian
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